In world of today, survival without internet is extremely difficult as internet serves as an efficient and effective way of communication globally. Earlier when internet was introduced, the focus was mainly to communicate with the people or organizations across the globe. The main purpose was to quicken the process of communication and to enhance the communicating opportunities for businesses in order to improve the economic output. However today, the purpose has expanded. People are now using internet as a communication tool not only for the purpose of getting in touch, or work, but also to explore more options available for them as buying opportunities around the world.
Online buying is a term interchangeably used for online shopping. Both these terms refer to buying of goods or services via the internet. Online buying can also be termed as virtual buying as there is no physical existence or store, products or services. Few ways in which online buying can take place are:
Online buying behavior is a term referred to the behavior of the people who buy products / services online. While it is important to offer deals and other benefits with the product to increase sales and attract more buyers it is also important to keep a track of the behavior of online buyers in order to present the good/service in a way that the buyer is automatically trapped into buying them. It wouldn't be wrong to term this is playing ethically with the minds of the customer for the benefit of the company.
In order to develop a better understanding, it is important to understand the basic online buying behavior. The buying behavior can be identified from the purchase process that buyers carry out. Online buyers usually conduct a personal research after need recognition and before indulging into buying behavior from a specific store. The research can be about the online stores selling the products that they need, different buying alternatives or about the kind of products that can fulfill their needs. The personal research phase is also known as the phase of information gathering.
The second phase of the online buying behavior is evaluation of different available online alternatives. There can be comparison on the basis of price, quality, time of delivery; mode of payment and in some cases even the type of online store. The third phase of buying behavior is the actual purchase of the product, this is also done virtually when the customer selects a product on an online store, and he submits the payment electronically. The purchase process on the buyer's end is complete however; the purchase process will be fully completed only when the buyer receives the product or the service he paid for.
The third and last phase of the online buying behavior is the post-purchase evaluation. After the purchase, the customer or the buyer evaluates the whole buying process. Also he/she may require after sales services. All of this combined together will determine whether the buyer will opt for buying from the same virtual interface again or not.
The online buying behavior can be termed as complex and non-complex based on the level of involvement in the buying purchase process.
Based on the brief overview discussed above, a hypothesis or a research question has been devised in order to carry out the research in an organized manner. The hypothesis / the research question for this research is, "socio cultural aspects affect the online buying behavior positively." If the research provides evidence that the impact of socio cultural aspects on the online buying behavior is positive, then our devised hypothesis will be true. However, if the result is opposite, the alternative hypothesis i.e. "socio cultural aspects affect the online buying behavior negatively" will be true.
As e-commerce or online shopping is the new phenomenon of business transaction that the world is moving towards, it is important to develop an understanding about all the aspects, features, and factors that have an impact on it. It is important to know about these features because for modern day survival businesses need to have a virtual existence. A virtual existence can only be on value, if customers accept it and appreciate it by accessing and using it. This research is important for the academic community because it would serve as a purpose to build more this needed understanding and also to highlight what can be done to reduce the negative effects (if any) of the socio cultural aspects and to gain on the positive effects (if any) of the socio cultural aspects on the online buying.
Research Design & Methodology
Population and Sample Size
Before defining the research methodology it is important to highlight that the population the research takes under consideration is innumerable as it consists of all kinds of existing and potential online buyers around the world. Therefore it is not possible to highlight the figure of the population. However, the details of the chosen samples are as mentioned below.
Sample Size: The sample size was 250 which means that 250 respondents were chosen from the population.
Selection of Sample: The sample respondents were selected virtually and were organized into geographical location in order to study the socio cultural aspect effect. The five selected countries were, India, U.S., Australia, Nigeria and Brazil. 50 respondents were selected from each country randomly.
Sources of Data
Two main sources of data were used which are primary data that is the data which we gathered through our research instruments and secondary data consisting of all the existing literature that we consulted for the research.
Research Methodology -- Instruments Used:
Since the sample was virtually selected the research instruments used were virtual in nature and are described below:
Online Questionnaires: Online questionnaires were designed and provided to the sample respondents. The questionnaire were quantitative in nature that is had close ended question. These were basically designed to have an authentic statistical evidence for the research.
Online Polls: These were generated every once in a while for the sample respondents in order to have a non-monotonous response from the respondents. The polls were related to various socio cultural aspects.
Virtual Interviews: The interviews were organized online via audio calls. 5 respondents were selected from each country for the purpose of interviewing. The interviews were basically designed to have an authentic qualitative analysis for the research.
Video Conference Focus Group: 2 respondents were selected from each country group and were organized into two main groups. One group favored the original hypothesis of socio cultural aspects having a positive effect on online buying while the other supporting the opposite. Through video conferencing (Google Hangout), the groups gave their arguments. This was another form of qualitative analysis for the research.
Digital Library (For Secondary Data Research): Many digital libraries and academic resources were consulted. The sources consulted include, JSTOR, Questia, HBR, etc.
Personal Background and Research
Add your background relevant to the research topic.
I have always been a person who appreciates change. Therefore, I have been greatly fascinated by the shift of conventional business to virtual business. This is not only a radical change but also an innovation in its own sense. Due to this recent acceptability of virtual existence of businesses, universities have taken a huge turn of altering their curriculum according to the latest advancements in the field of internet and business. The fact that internet and business have combined together and formed a totally new platform of doing business has always amazed me.
Therefore, this topic is not only an academic subject for me; it is something that I want to learn passionately. The subject in itself has the potential to contribute a lot to the field of education. Since the universities are altering their curriculum and including virtual businesses in their curriculum, this subject will serve as an additional value to the authentic academic knowledge related to the current trends of the world's way of doing business.
The critical sources are sources without which this research will not be successfully conducted. These critical sources have been ascertained before in order to avoid the future unavailability. The critical sources are:
Data Sources: As mentioned before, primary and secondary data sources both serve as a critical resource to the research. These include the digital libraries and other online resources and our sample set as a whole.
Organizations: For secondary research, access to organizations that have studied the subject before (directly or indirectly) serve as a critical source for our research. These are mostly academic institutions.
Individuals: No particular individual except for the sample respondents themselves are the critical sources for this research.
Content wise the scope of the research is limited to studying the effect of socio cultural aspects on the online buying behavior. The research does not consider any other aspects, features or factors. Also one important thing to note here is that the research…